Arvind Kejriwal had already left his job with the IRS in 2006. AK got popularity during his struggle with the Anna Hazare led movement for Jan-Lokpal Bill. Media had its eyes on this man who led a life of simplicity. He formed AAP on the moral grounds of simplicity, anti-corruption and a voice for the aam janta.
The party had several items on its manifesto to attract the masses. It always sounded confident about coming into power. It loathed corruption and declared its averseness to join hands with the existing corrupt Government. AAP came into power on 28th Dec, 2013. A new Government was formed, but AAP had joined its hands with Congress to enter into power. Joining hands with the very same party which it was opposed to, AAP raised doubt among several of its followers, but most of them decided to remain silent and observe AAP’s efforts to deliver what it had promised. AAP opened its magic box in the next few days. It announced that its ministers won’t be staying in large bungalows and there would be no red beacons on cars.
Then came the turn for subsidies. It first announced distribution of ‘’free water’’ for a consumption not exceeding 20,000 L per month. This was severely criticized by policy experts, but it sounded like a telescopic measure. It was a case of cross subsidy . There was a simple assumption to this, the poor would use water judiciously to not exceed the free limit , the rich can afford to pay for its consumption exceeding the limit. Those rich families that did not consume more than the free limit would not have to pay anything, though they could have easily afforded it. This can be best explained in terms of a reward for these families for using the water judiciously. After 66 years of independence, at least citizens of the capital deserve free access to water.
The very next day AK unveiled his New year gift for us, announcement of 50% power subsidy. The Electricity Act, 2003 expressly requires all stakeholders to eschew needless politicisation of power rates and related statism. This was directly disregarding the independent tariff setting.
AAP has exhibited double standards on several occasions. It said that it would not be wasting money on private cars and 2 days later every minister gets an Innova, of course, without a red beacon. It seemed as if AAP was more concerned of AK’s public image and that public would ignore the perks enjoyed by its ministers. AAP had said it did not require big bungalows for its ministers, but small VIP bungalows sounded alright for them. AAP was opposed to the Congress Government, but did not mind forming a Government with the help of Congress.
If AK had to resign because the Jan-Lokpal Bill was rejected, why was his conscience sleeping while forming a Government with Congress. He should not have come into power at the first place in that case.
The weak foundation:
AAP’s foundation sounded alright when it was struggling to come in power. Simplicity per se, is intrinsic in nature. AAP was formed on the moral grounds of simplicity, anti-corruption and a voice for the aam janta. One would put a tick mark on each of these, though a shorter one on the simplicity part because of the double standards mentioned previously. Talking about simplicity, simplicity per se is an intrinsic part of someone’s personality. AK however got full support of media in advertising his simplicity which eventually transformed into an election plank. The solidness of foundation is best ascertained during the rains. After coming into power, the same moral grounds sounded shallow. The very same moral grounds that were opposed to corruption, joined hands with Congress for forming a Government.
Forgive me for my political mindset, but I could not give away on the possibility of a cannibalization strategy adopted by Congress. If you think from the perspective of Congress, it could have silently formed a party that was exactly opposite to what the citizens had been witnessing from Congress. So you form a party that vehemently opposes corruption. It will definitely find its followers who can be swayed away by BJP in the next series of elections. And this is what exactly happened, AAP kept opposing the Congress Government but finally took its support, while BJP fell just short of gaining a majority and forming the Government. AAP destroyed BJP’s chances of coming into power and eventually joined hands with the very Government that it had been opposed to since its inception.
The serious problem:
AK finally resigned from his CM post on 14th Feb. If you look carefully, AAP did a few special things. It engaged itself in a Guerilla warfare. AK left on a short notice, AAP is still there. Congress’ puppet or not, the problems with AAP or AK were too many in terms of strategies. Attack is the first weapon of the fool, which AK gracefully embraced while dealing with business houses and other parties.
Talking about the serious problem, the problem is not with the Congress, BJP or AAP. The problem lies within us and it is serious because we are too ignorant to notice it. Indians, especially the aam janta, have traditionally been emotional in nature. This time, It confused morals with high administrative abilities. The party had several populist items in its manifesto, but people were so stuck to the idea of ‘anti-corruption’ that they never considered it seriously. AAP’s unique value proposition offered a voice of the aam janta opposed to the corruption which found several serious takers.
We support a party that claims itself to be against corruption, but we forget how corrupt our society is. Bribing for passports, licenses, etc. are common and we don’t even consider a part of corruption. The feeling of indulging in corruption has nothing to do with someone’s economic status.
Consider a typical college where only students whose parents’ annual income is less than 5 Lakhs INR are eligible for a scholarship. I have seen students vehemently supporting AAP on the grounds of anti-corruption. These same students, who make their everyday college visit in a different personal vehicle, avail scholarship benefits by deflating the net profit figures from their parent’s business, which can be any amount. Corruption is any dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power. Compare this to a student whose parents are employed in public sector and earn just over 5 Lakhs annually.
You will find many instances where you have seen other people or yourself indulging in acts of corruption. We desire quality of life offered in European countries, but while trying to imitate the West, we forget to copy the good things prevalent in their society. We forget how disciplined they are in abiding rules, we forget to copy their punctuality, we forget to respect women, and so on. We take pride in claiming that rules are meant to be broken, ham toh aise he hain (we are like this) , arrey sab chalta hai, and corruption continues to thrive.
The question then remains, ‘’Does a corrupt society deserve to have a corruption free Government?’’